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Intrastat system - statistics relating to the trading of goods between Member States

The European Parliament and the Council have adopted a regulation on Community statistics relating to the trading of goods between Member States. This regulation makes the unprecedented system of data collection which is currently in place (the Intrastat system) more transparent and easier to understand.


Regulation (EC) No 638/2004 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 31 March 2004 on Community statistics relating to the trading of goods between Member States and repealing Council Regulation (EEC) No 3330/91 (See amending act(s)).


Intrastat, which has been in operation since 1993, is the system for the provision of statistical information on dispatches and arrivals of Community goods. The provision of statistics is essential for the development of European policies on the internal market and market analysis.

Statistics concerned

This Regulation simplifies the Intrastat system which was established in 1993 and improves the comparability of statistics between Member States. It establishes a common framework for the collection and production of Community statistics on the trading of goods between Member States. ‘Trading of goods between Member States’ means any movement of merchandise from one Member State to another and ‘merchandise’ means all movable property, including electric current.

Register management

National authorities set up and manage a register of intra-European Union operators made up of consignors and consignees. The parties responsible for providing information * for Intrastat are those operators whose annual trade amount – dispatches and arrivals - is of a certain value. The other operators are exempt from all statistical requirements. This value is re-defined each year and is fixed separately for dispatches and arrivals so that a minimum amount of data is collected for each trade flow. This relates to exclusion thresholds.

Data to be collected by the Intrastat system

The parties responsible for providing information provide the national statistical authorities with the following data:

  • the identification number allocated to the party responsible for providing information;
  • the reference period;
  • the flow (arrival, dispatch);
  • the commodity, identified by the eight-digit code of the Combined Nomenclature;
  • the partner Member State;
  • the value of the goods in the national currency;
  • the quantity of the goods in net mass (weight excluding packaging) and the supplementary unit (litre, m², number of items, etc.), if relevant;
  • the nature of the transaction.

Simplifying the Intrastat system

This regulation modifies the Intrastat system in order to take better account of users' needs while alleviating the statistical obligations of intra-EU operators. Each year, Member States re-define their exclusion thresholds and communicate these amounts to Eurostat. These thresholds are set in such a way so as to collect data relating to at least 97% of all dispatches and at least 95% of all arrivals of national intra-Community operators.

Statistical confidentiality

Any party responsible for providing information may request that their data receives statistical confidentiality. Following this request, the national authorities shall decide whether the statistical results which make it possible to identify the said provider are to be disseminated or are to be amended in such a way that their dissemination does not prejudice statistical confidentiality.

Transmission of data to Eurostat

Member States shall transmit to Eurostat the monthly results of their statistics on the trading of goods between Member States.

Member States must ensure the quality of the data transmitted in accordance with the standards in force. The statistics must fulfil certain criteria:

  • relevance;
  • accuracy;
  • timeliness;
  • punctuality;
  • accessibility and clarity;
  • comparability;
  • coherence.

The Committee for the statistics on the trading of goods between Member States is given the task of assisting the Commission in applying this regulation.

This Regulation shall apply from 1 January 2005 and repeals Regulation (EEC) No 3330/91 as of this date.

Key terms used in the act
  • Parties responsible for providing information: natural or legal persons registered for VAT in the Member State of dispatch or arrival of goods who are involved in the dispatch or delivery of goods.


ActEntry into forceDeadline for transposition in the Member StatesOfficial Journal

Regulation (EC) No 638/2004



OJ L 102 of 7.4.2004

Amending act(s)Entry into forceDeadline for transposition in the Member StatesOfficial Journal

Regulation (EC) No 222/2009



OJ L 87 of 31.3.2009

The successive amendments and corrections to Regulation (EEC) No 638/2004 have been incorporated in the original text. This consolidated version is of documentary value only.

Last updated: 18.11.2010
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